Remains of slain delegates conveyed for final honours and burial
The Governor of the Southwest region, Bernard Okalia Bilai has stated that the killing and burying of five Divisional delegates and a MINCAF chief of service in Ndian Division by separatist fighters has only demonstrated their Machiavellian nature, several years after they set out, professing to fight for the common man.
The Governor was speaking in Limbe, where he presided over the funeral of the delegates, whose remains were exhumed from where they were allegedly buried, in Ndian, for the deceased to be accorded proper funerals by the state and their families.
On Monday, August 7, state security officers and other personnel carried out a mission to exhume the remains of the delegates. A public funeral in their honour was presided at by Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai in Limbe.
For some time, since June 15, 2021, the families of the delegates have remained gripped in fear of the fate that may have befallen their loved ones after they were abducted by an armed group operating in Ndian Division, in Cameroon’s Southwest region.
Their worst fears were confirmed on July 6, 2023, when 24-year-old Tamaya Clinton, one of the separatist fighters who belonged to the group, the Expendables 100, that abducted the delegates, said the six were all killed later, following orders from separatist leaders funding their group from abroad.
Tamaya who is now at the DDR Centre as a repentant fighter said their group was ordered to kill the delegates, and it went on to dig graves for the victims, after which they were shot and buried. The shocking revelation comes after two years of speculation on the fate of the delegates who went on a field mission and ended up being abducted.
Shortly after news of their abduction became public, one of the victims, the Divisional Delegate of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Johnson Mudika Mabia, was reported dead. The 42-year-old delegate was killed on Friday, June 18, 2021, three days after they were abducted by the armed group. His remains were transported through Idenau, to Limbe where it was kept in the morgue and later buried.
The abducted delegates who were later killed include Elvis Mambe Ebaku of State Property, Land Tenure and Surveys, Felicia Ndong, delegate of Housing and Urban Development, Emmanuel Elad of Water and Energy Resources, Christian Mbida Armand, of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft, Stephen Agbor Nyenty, Divisional Chief of Service for Surveys, and Johnson Mabia Mudika of Economy, Planning and Regional Development.
The victims were taken while on a land demarcation mission in Misore Balue, Ekondo Titi Ndian Division on June 15, 2021. From findings, it was established that the Delegates who were operating in the area considered a red zone in the crisis-ridden region were sent to the field without security officers to guard them, thus exposing them to the non-state armed groups operating in the Division.
At first, news circulated that the separatist commander who led the group that took the Delegates was demanding ransom for their release. In a statement, the self-styled ‘Commander’ Ten Kobo said he was not interested in any ransom. “Ransom is not good because they want to use the money that they will send, to track us,” he said in a voice note circulated on social media. He rather promised to use the delegates to set an “example”. The surrendered Tamaya now says Commander 10 Kobo now is late. He reportedly died from bullet wounds sustained after a battle with state defence forces.
Speaking to Voice of America News, VOA, on Friday, June 18, 2021, Chris Anu, who was then, the Secretary of State for Communication for the ‘Interim Government of Ambazonia’, confirmed that Separatist Fighters under his group’s command were keeping the six Divisional Delegates abducted on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, in custody.